30th June 2017
Another tragedy for monkeys in EU laboratories
EU review of monkey experiments is unfit for purpose
We have slammed the EU’s latest review of monkey experiments after it fails to properly look at the need for testing on monkeys or possible alternatives.
The updated Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) report to look at the use of animals in experiments has been described by our science team as "unfit for purpose". Last year SCHEER was asked to update its report and suggest when experiments on monkeys could be phased out. But the new report fails to properly look at the evidence against monkey experiments and does not investigate any alternatives.
Our problems with the report are:
- The working group did not include any animal protection experts, as promised
- It accepted opinions (instead of scientific evidence) from monkey researchers about how important their work is, and passed off these opinions as fact
- It failed to look at the arguments against monkey experiments based on actual evidence, such as the hard evidence provided by Cruelty Free International
- It exaggerated the speculated benefits of research on monkeys
- It didn’t properly review the alternatives to monkey experiments
- It didn’t offer a deadline by when experiments on monkeys could be phased out
Dr Jarrod Bailey, Cruelty Free International Senior Research Scientist, says: “Once again, there has been a tragically missed opportunity to assess all of the evidence, and to get to the truth about the failure of monkey experiments. Instead of a critical scientific approach that the review demanded, simple opinions of those who do monkey experiments have been accepted as robust evidence in support of them. This inquiry has been seriously flawed from the outset and throughout. Until the Commission demands an independent, balanced and systematic review of monkey research, it will continue to be fed poor quality, misleading opinions by those with vested interests. This mistake will lead to years of pain and suffering for tens of thousands of monkeys languishing in laboratories, subjected to experiments for research with little or no relevance to human medicine, while millions of people continue to wait in vain for medical breakthroughs it cannot provide.”
The previous SCHEER report published in 2009 was criticised by animal welfare groups for failing to explore the value of monkey research or alternatives. We also complained to the EU that both the working group advising SCHEER and the information it took into consideration was unbalanced. We will now be taking another complaint to the EU about how the working group advising the committee was selected.